© 2011 Austen

We all want what we can’t have

White Whale

This post came on the heels of a twitter conversation with @ironmoe –thank you for holding me accountable. I said, “I suppose, to some degree, we all want what we can’t have.” Moe asked for expansion, and here it is.  When I originally wrote that I was thinking of the negative connotations associated with that instinct.  Then, after ruminating over night and this morning I decided that it is a very common human instinct.  Like all of our instincts, it is fundamentally amoral until we act upon it in the context of our lives.  It is the appropriateness of the context that determines the moral value of our instincts.  Think of it this way: it is a fundamental human instinct to eat. It is not appropriate, however, to snatch food from the hands of your colleagues at a business lunch. Conversely, the desire for things that seem beyond our reach has led to many great discoveries and accomplishments.  So it is not the desire that is out of place but simply the context.  A desire for things beyond our reach on the macro level is a great way to shape personal goals.  However, a desire for something you cannot have right now, simply because you cannot have it right now is more about instant gratification and a misunderstanding of the instinct itself.  Focus on what you really want, regardless of whether or not you can have it right now; then time will tell how much you really want it. Focus on what you want from moment to moment and you will be confused and frustrated for a long time.

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